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Booker T, Jim Ross, and Animal among attendees for 20th anniversary HOF induction weekend

WATERLOO, Iowa—The biggest weekend of the year at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum has been finalized with some of the greatest names in professional wrestling scheduled to attend. The George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions are on July 26-28 in Waterloo, Iowa.

All-Access Passes are available for $120 through June 1. After June 1, All-Access Passes are $130.

All-Access Passes allow attendees an opportunity to attend all events from Thursday through Saturday, including a ticket to the Hall of Fame Banquet, a ringside seat to the Impact Pro Wrestling show and preferred access at the autograph signing.

There are also events that are limited to All-Access Pass Holders and distinguished guests.

The Gable Museum is also offering an all-access pass and a three-night hotel stay package from July 26-29 at the newly remodeled Hotel Fourth (formerly Ramada Inn) for $355.

All-inclusive Hall of Fame packages and all-access passes must be pre-ordered by contacting the Dan Gable Museum at [email protected], calling (319) 233-0745 or clicking here.

Keep up to date with the latest Hall of Fame information by clicking here.

Dan Severn and Owen Hart have been selected for induction into the 2018 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Award winners are Booker T (Lou Thesz Award), Bruiser Brody (Frank Gotch Award), Ben Askren (George Tragos Award) and Koji Miyamoto (Jim Melby Award).

“Attending the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame is a must for any true fan of professional wrestling,” said Jim Ross, master of ceremonies for this year’s hall of fame banquet and “The Voice” of professional wrestling. “I’m challenging everyone to bring at least one additional person with them to this year’s event. I can’t wait to attend.”

Distinguished guests confirmed to appear include:

Booker T: Six-time World Champion, WWE commentator

Road Warrior Animal: AWA, NWA, and WWF World Tag Team Champion

Jim Ross: Legendary television announcer, the voice of the Ross Report and founder of JR’s BBQ sauce

Gerry Brisco: NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion, NWA World tag team champion and longtime WWE talent scout

Wes Brisco: Son of Gerry Brisco and former TNA Impact superstar

Brian Blair: Cauliflower Alley Club president and half of the tag team “The Killer Bees”

Larry “The Axe” Hennig: Former AWA World tag team champion, father of “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig and grandfather of Curtis Axel

Austin Aries: Multiple time world champion for ROH and TNA, independent wrestling superstar

Dan Severn: NWA World champion and UFC World champion

Stan Hansen: AWA and All Japan Triple Crown champion

Nikita Koloff: NWA US champion and NWA World tag team champion

Tony Garea: Five-time WWF World Tag Team champion

Ben Askren: Two-time NCAA champion, Bellator and ONE champion

Dan Gable: Olympic gold medalist, legendary wrestling coach, museum namesake

JJ Dillon: leader of the legendary Four Horsemen

Rob Schamberger: WWE artist in residence

Brian Cage: FSW champion, PWG Tag team champion

Colt Cabana: NWA World champion and independent wrestling superstar, host of “The Art of Wrestling” podcast

DJZ/Zema Ion: TNA X Division champion

Bob Holly: WWF Tag Team champion and Hardcore champion

Cowboy Bob Orton: Second-generation wrestling superstar, involved in the main event of the first ever Wrestlemania

Charlie Thesz: Widow of Hall of Fame namesake Lou Thesz

Barbara Goodish: Widow of Bruiser Brody

Bruce Hart: Member of the legendary Hart family, Owen Hart’s brother

Koji Miyamoto: Japanese wrestling historian

Wade Keller: Pro Wrestling Torch founder

Bruce Mitchell: Wrestling historian and Pro Wrestling Torch columnist

More guests to be announced at a later date.

“This is another exceptional line up for the Hall of Fame weekend,” said Gerry Brisco, 2005 Hall of Fame inductee and president of the selection committee. “I was born and raised in Oklahoma, but I look forward to my time in Waterloo, Iowa, every July. This is a special weekend for all who attend.”

Impact Pro Wrestling will host the Hall of Fame Classic for the second consecutive year. This year’s tournament features Bob Holly, Austin Aries, Colt Cabana, Brian Cage, DJZ, Air Wolf, Curt Stallion, and an Impact Pro Wrestling representative.

This one-day tournament takes place on Friday, July 27 at 2 p.m. The finals will take place during the evening Impact Pro Wrestling show.

There will also be a talent evaluation with current WWE scout Gerry Brisco, Jim Ross, and JJ Dillon. For more information on how to attend, e-mail Troy Peterson, owner of Impact Pro Wrestling, at [email protected].

George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Induction Weekend Schedule
Thursday, July 26
5 p.m. – Kick off social at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum for HOF Inductees and All-Access Pass Holders. Includes food and beverage. (All-access pass holders and distinguished guests only).

8 p.m. – Open mic and pro wrestling trivia.

Friday, July 27
9 a.m. – National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum opens.

10 a.m. – Documentary plays in the theater at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum.

Noon – Pro Wrestling Evaluation with Gerry Brisco, Jim Ross, and JJ Dillon at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. Open to All-Access Pass Holders.

2 p.m. – Hall of Fame Classic. Eight-person Tournament with the first round held at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center with finals held at IPW show in the evening. Tickets for the evaluation, Hall of Fame Classic, and IPW show can be purchased for $35 or general admission for $25.

3 p.m. – Hall of Fame podcast with Wade Keller and Bruce Mitchell of PW Torch.

6:30 – Impact Pro Wrestling show starts at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. Ringside ticket included for All-Access Pass Holders (Tickets are $25 for Ringside and $15 for General Admission for non-Pass Holders)

10 p.m. – After Party for All-Access Pass Holders and distinguished guests.

Saturday, July 28 
10:30 a.m. – Special roundtable discussion for All-Access Pass holders only.

Noon – Doors open at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum to general public ($10 Admission for non-Pass Holders).

Noon – Round table discussion and Q & A sessions.

2 p.m. – Autograph signing with professional wrestling legends at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. All-Access Pass Holders enter first. $20 Admission for non-Pass Holders required (most individual signers will charge).

5 p.m. – Hall of Fame Reception at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

6 p.m. – Induction Banquet at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

7 p.m. – Induction Ceremony at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. All-Access Pass includes banquet ticket. Banquet Tickets are $60 per ticket for non-Pass Holders.

Dan Severn will be the first person in the history of the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Hall of Fame to be recognized on three separate occasions. Severn received the Frank Gotch Award in 2002 and the George Tragos Award in 2012.

Severn was a two-time wrestling All-American for Arizona State where he reached the finals of the NCAA championships in 1980. He had a stint with WWE from 1997-99 and is best known for his time with NWA where he was World Heavyweight champion on two occasions. Severn was the first high profile amateur wrestler to enter the UFC, winning the UFC Superfight Championship and became a Hall of Famer in that sport.

Owen Hart will be the third member of his family to enter the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. His brother, Bret, was inducted 2006 and his father, Stu, was inducted in 2008. The Harts will be the second family in the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame to have three inductees. The other is the Funk family with Terry, Dory, Jr., and Dory, Sr. as members of the Hall of Fame.

Hart was an accomplished high school and college wrestler before entering the professional ranks. He trained in the legendary Hart Dungeon under the tutelage of his father.  He gained fame competing in Stampede Wrestling and in New Japan Pro Wrestling before signing with the WWE. He was a multiple time tag team and Intercontinental Champion in the WWE.

Induction into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame includes substantial impact on professional wrestling, general respect within the profession, and a strong amateur wrestling or athletic background.

Booker T is best known for his time in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), holding 35 championships between those organizations. He is the most decorated wrestler in WCW history, having held 21 titles including a record six WCW World Television Championships

After his in ring career with the WWE ended, Booker T became heavily involved with charitable endeavors in Texas. This included, along with his wife Sharmell, founding the Booker T Fights for Kid Foundation. He also founded the wrestling promotion Reality of Wrestling and was WWE Raw and Smackdown commentator.

The Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award is given to an individual in wrestling who has taken the skills of the sport into the realm of public service. The award is co-sponsored by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum and the Eblen Charities based out of Asheville, North Carolina.

Lou Thesz became world heavyweight wrestling champion for the first time in 1937 when, at the age of 20, he defeated Everett Marshall. Raised in St. Louis and trained by Ed “Strangler” Lewis and George Tragos, Thesz won the title a total of six times — the last occurring in 1963 when he defeated Buddy Rogers.

Thesz is still considered one of the best professional wrestlers ever — when true talent and toughness were what counted most in the ring.

Bruiser Brody was considered one of the most feared and respected wrestlers in history. He began his career in Texas, and soon became in demand across the globe. Brody competed in virtually every wrestling promotion in the United States and Japan, winning fans over with his wild, brawling style. Brody was famous in Japan for his tag team with Stan Hansen, and battled Abdullah the Butcher around the world. Brody was known as a shrewd businessman, and worked behind the scenes in WCCW as a booker.

The Frank Gotch Award is given to a wrestler who, through their athleticism and toughness in the ring, brought a higher level of respect to professional wrestling from both inside and outside the business.

A native of Humboldt, Iowa, Frank Gotch — a professional wrestler — became one of the best-known athletes in the world during the early 1900s. He won the American title in 1905 from Tom Jenkins, and then took the world title in 1908 from George Hackenschmidt. The 1911 rematch with Hackenschmidt (known as the Russian Lion) drew a crowd of over 30,000 people to Comiskey Park in Chicago. Gotch triumphed again, winning in two consecutive falls.

Gotch defeated all comers for five years, and then retired undefeated in 1913. He was largely responsible for the enthusiasm that built our high school and collegiate amateur wrestling in America.

Ben Askren was a two-time NCAA wrestling champion for Missouri (2006-07) and a four-time NCAA championship finalist (2004-07). Askren made the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in freestyle wrestling at 163 pounds. He compiled an 18-0 Mixed Martial Arts record, winning welterweight titles for ONE Fighting Championship and Bellator. Askren is a currently an owner and coach at Askren Wrestling Academy (AWA) in Hartland, Wisconsin. The academy is dedicated to helping young wrestlers achieve their goals.

The George Tragos Award is given to an exceptionally competitive wrestler who has adapted his wrestling skills and competitive nature to excel in Mixed Martial Arts.

George Tragos, namesake of the award and the hall of fame, was one of the most feared submission wrestlers during the 1920s and 1930s. He wrestled and threw discus for the Greek Olympic team in 1920 and 1924. Tragos was also an AAU freestyle champion in 1919 at 158 pounds for the Gary, Indiana, YMCA. He worked with Don Faurot to revitalize the University of Missouri wrestling program in 1944 as well.

George Tragos’s most famous pupil was Lou Thesz. Lou’s knowledge of hooks was the single most important rung in Lou’s ladder to the top and his years of holding the World Heavyweight Championship (13 years in total). Lou had the body, work ethic and passion, but George gave him the tools that let everyone (wrestlers and promoters) know he was in control of his future and that of the title when he held it. The fans knew the difference, too, and that is why the promoters kept coming back to Lou. The fans knew Lou was a true wrestler. George Tragos gave Lou that edge.

Koji Miyamoto authored 16 books on professional wrestling, including “Eternal Iron Man: Lou Thesz,” ”Pro wrestling techniques, volumes 1-3,” “Inoki, his 50 years of wrestling life,” ”Truth behind Rikidozan,” “45 years of New Japan Pro Wrestling.” He has also interviewed many of the greatest champions in professional wrestling history for his book “Complete History of Japanese Pro Wrestling.” For each book, he used penname of Tomomi Nagare. Today, Miyamoto has a one-page article in “Weekly Pro Wrestling” magazine.

The Jim Melby Award recognizes excellence in professional wrestling writing or history.
Kyle Klingman

National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum

303 Jefferson St.

Waterloo, IA 50701

Phone: (319) 233-0745

FAX: (319) 233-3477